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A special note from COK’s Cheryl Leahy, mother of two: On Mother’s Day, as I celebrate this special day with my family, I also reflect upon mothers of all species. As we take time to honor the beloved moms, grandmoms and mother figures in our lives, let’s also remember how our actions impact other moms, specifically the female animals who are routinely abused in animal agriculture.
- Dairy cows are repeatedly impregnated and calf after calf is taken from them just days after birth, so that the milk produced for their young can instead be consumed by humans. Male calves are sent to be raised and slaughtered for beef or veal, while female calves are typically raised as dairy cows, like their mothers – beginning this shortened and cruel cycle of life and death over again.
- Mother pigs spend months on end confined in gestation crates during pregnancy and farrowing crates during nursing, only able to nurse and connect with their piglets through metal bars. They’ll spend their entire lives nearly immobilized.
- Egg-laying hens are crammed into tiny wire “battery” cages, denied the ability to perform many natural behaviors, such was spreading their wings, nesting, or even walking. The birds will never set foot outside or breathe fresh air.
It is clear that these animals who are suffering behind the closed doors of factory farms are caring mothers — they feel pain, fear, grief, joy and love:
Did you know that mother pigs nurse their piglets for up to 12 weeks and will sing to them, like many human mothers sing to their babies?
Or that cows form lifelong bonds with their calves, and some dairy cows have been found to try to hide their calves before they are taken away?
Or that hens carefully build nests for their eggs, which they will turn over several times each hour and chirp to their unhatched chicks who chirp back in response?
Thankfully, there is a way that we can show compassion to all of these loving moms – by leaving animal products off our plates! Mother’s Day is this Sunday, but there’s plenty of time to create your compassionate holiday menu. Make brunch for Mom with these Fluffy Pancakes or French Toast, or visit TryVeg.com for more recipes and ideas.
Happy Mother’s Day!